As part of my ongoing series of “Author Spotlights” I’m pleased to highlight author Ray Wenck. I met Ray in June of 2016 at a convention in St. Louis. We’ve stayed in touch since then and in April of this year (less than a week from this post!) we’ll be at another convention together.
Author Spotlight: Ray Wenck
Today I’m fortunate to present Ray Wenck, author of the Danny Roth mystery suspense series and the post-apocalyptic Random Survival series.
Hi Ray, thanks for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have 11 published novels to date. I was a teacher for 35 years and owned an Italian restaurant for 25 of those years, both of which play a part in the Danny Roth series.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for 6 years and a good example of the phrase ‘it’s never too late …’
What inspired you to start writing?
It was something I’d always wanted to do, but never had the time. Once I found the time it’s been non-stop ever since.
Tell us a little bit about your current project. Is it a novel, short story, or something else? Is it part of a series?
My current WIP is titled A Story Best Left Untold. It’s a stand alone mystery. It developed from one sentence a friend said about their child. “That’s a story best left untold.” Although that story and this one have absolutely nothing in common, the sentence sparked something that came out to be this story. It’s funny sometimes where the inspirations come from.
What genre do you prefer to write in, if any?
I write thrillers in all styles, but my most popular series is Random Survival, a post-apocalyptic tale following one man as he tries to find his way through the chaos of a world altering event that has everyone mystified.
What authors influenced you?
There’s so many. Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Robert Crais, John Sandford and a list of others.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading D.P. Lyle’s Deep Six. Met him at some conferences and decided to read one of his books. I didn’t realize how similar our styles and main characters were. They were both former major league baseball players and both now own restaurants.
Do you write every day? A few days per week?
I write five days a week usually for 3-5 hours.
Do you listen to music when you write? Does it influence how you write?
Sometimes, but once I start writing I don’t hear anything. In fact, I find it easier to write sitting in a diner then I do being home. I’m able to block out all the noise but, if I write at home, everything bothers me. The dog wants attention, unfinished chores make me feel guilty, the refrigerator calls to me. Not good.
How do you think your writing has changed from when you first started?
I understand the process so much better now. I was always a good story teller, but my craft has improved.
How do you create the covers for your books?
That’s easy. I let the publisher come up with the idea and say yes or no.
Are there any non-literary influences for your writing (movies, actors, music, etc)?
I think almost anything could be an influence, but that’s not always good. I have to be careful to be true to my characters and not copy them after something I’ve seen.
What is your favorite book and why?
One of my favorite books was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Intense for the time.
How do you market your books?
As many ways as possible. I’ve done TV ads; ads on Facebook and Goodreads. But the best way I’ve found for convincing a reader to take a chance on a new author is face-to-face. I do a lot of shows. It’s easier to explain a book to someone when you don’t have to worry about word count or time. They can also feel the passion with which you explain it.
Do you have an excerpt from your current work you’d like to share?
Sure, but it’s raw.
I have a story to tell, I think. Oh, not that I think I have a story, I definitely do, especially considering the small, but important part I play in it. It’s just that I’m not sure I should tell it. I mean, after all, if the facts became known, a lot of people could be in trouble, though most, I’m sure, would go to ground, scattered about the world by strong, need-to-disappear winds.
If you’re an indie author, what made you choose that route?
I’m published through small presses, but because I do a lot of creative writing workshops, the question about self-publishing comes up every class. To be able to talk to them from experience I have published 2 of my novels myself, Ghost of a Chance and Live to Die Again.
Where can we purchase your current book? What about previous books?
All my titles are available by going through my website: raywenck.com or on Amazon.
Where can we find you online?
Facebook: Author Ray Wenck
Any parting words for writers?
At least once a show someone will come up to me and say they’re a writer too, or they always wanted to write. The secret to writing is to sit your butt in a seat and write. My suggestion, is to write for yourself, not to get published. Have fun. Enjoy the creative process and keep going until you finish. You can always go back afterward and do rewrites, but they are much easier to do once the book is done. Some may disagree with that, but so many times I’ve talked to people who write, stop and start something new, or start, decide they don’t like it and go back and start over. Consequently, the story never advances. If you finish you can go back and fix the parts you don’t like and it won’t feel as daunting.